EL PASO, Texas–Ed Easley provided the offensive spark and Memphis responded with their season-best ninth consecutive win, defeating El Paso by a 7-4 mark on Monday night at Southwest University Park.
Easley drove in five and collected three extra-base hits for the ‘Birds. The five RBIs matched a season-high and it was only the second time in 2014 that he recorded three or more hits in a game (4, 8/10 vs. New Orleans).
The catcher was a big contributor to Memphis’ ninth straight win, tying a franchise record established by the Redbirds’ 2000 PCL Championship squad. The victory improved the Redbirds to 16-5 over their last 21 road games and gave them their PCL-leading 13th win during the month of August. Most importantly, Memphis remained one game ahead of Nashville for first in the division standings.
Xavier Scruggs (0-for-3, R, BB, K), who was named PCL Player of the Week today, saw his season-best twelve-game hitting streak come to a close.
Marco Gonzales earned his third Triple-A win by tossing six efficient innings. The left-hander pitched to contact, recording six groundouts and fanning three without registering a walk. He scattered eight hits and surrendered two runs with 84 pitches.
Memphis kept with the recent string of early scoring, rolling with two runs in the second. Greg Garcia reached on a two-out walk and Easley followed by smoking a letter high pitch from Andrew Cashner over the left field wall. It was the catcher’s eighth homer of the season but only his second away from AutoZone Park.
The ‘Birds added another tally to the scoreboard in the third to make it 3-0. Tommy Pham singled to extend his hitting streak to six games and scored when Scott Moore drove the ball into the right field corner for his 21st two-bagger of the season.
El Paso got a two-out, two-run triple in the sixth courtesy of Cody Decker. The first baseman was mere feet from notching his 22ndhomer but the park held the ball and kept Gonzales in line for the win.
Garcia scored another insurance run in the seventh, walking and plating from first on Easley’s double to the right field wall. Memphis’third extra-base hit of the evening gave the visitors a 4-2 advantage.
The Chihuahuas answered in the seventh but failed to jump on top in the frame, leaving a runner stranded at second. El Paso finished the contest just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Easley poured it on even more in the ninth, slamming a two-run double to left field. The backstop’s third hit of the night drove in Scruggs and Garcia. Mike O’Neill finished the three-run frame with a pinch-hit single and the Redbirds had managed a 7-3 lead.
Kevin Siegrist, who was optioned to Triple-A yesterday, threw a shutout eighth inning and Jorge Rondon earned his 9th save by getting one out in the ninth.
The series will conclude tomorrow as Memphis will seek its first four-game series sweep of 2014. Tyler Lyons (8-1, 4.18) seeks his seventh consecutive winning decision as he goes up against Juan Oramos (6-6, 5.42) in the 8:05 pm finale.